From The Archives: Follow the Rules, 9/12

Well, it’s official: Writers’ Community is back in business! After the biggest turnout at a mass meeting of all time EVER, our creative process is again underway in the labyrinth of Mason Hall with workshopping, writerly games, and all-around excellence. Here are a few tastes of our first activity of 2013: group stories, all of which must follow the rule presented at the beginning. Each short story was written by multiple people with sixty seconds each per story, hence the absolute nonsense that ensued.


Every other sentence must contain a color.

“Why so blue?” asked Jefferson, the mailman of whom Stephen appreciated his daily courtesy.
“No reason.”
“No reason?” laughed the old man. “Why, you look glummer than a purple plum!”
Glummer? Stephen’s cheeks reddened.
“Ah,” the mailman sighed pensively. “When the trees start sprouting I’ll have plenty of them to look at! What with their beautiful, gorgeous, verdant green leaves, how could one not appreciate nature? I’ll tell you how, because it all turns brown and dies. Just like dirt. Might as well admire dirt.”
“Don’t be so cynical,” she said angrily.
He was about to respond when suddenly a gust of wind blue him away. “Whoa!” she exclaimed.

Write in the style of a Harlequin romance.

Guenivere gazed longingly at Lancelot. He ha originally caught her attention when he bent down to kiss her. Their hands touched. She could feel a static electricity, like when God stretched out his hand to Adam. Such hands. God moisturizes. She was the heir to the family fortune of the people who owned the factory. Soft like velveteen rushing through waterfall fingertips. She brought her hands up to his chest. His heart raced below rippling pectorals. Her chest heaved like the sensuous tides of mid-evening shores. A slow descent to a love they cannot deny, and with a kiss, they were cursed.


Each sentence must start with the next letter in the alphabet.

And we all danced as the city burned. Burned to the ground. Cities, as you know, do not tend to be fireproof. Dirt can serve as an inhibitor, but this city was pristine. Everybody in the city screamed whilst they were burned alive. Fountains of blood rained down upon us. Grotesque bodies filled the city. Hell had come to the earth. It was difficult to see, yet even more difficult to turn away. Joy radiated from the dancing. Karp rained from the sky where the clouds hung low. Light was nonexistent. Meteors were flying. Noises emanated from the skies. Oracles screamed, as if trying to awaken us. Promenades through the apocalypse. Quiet overtook the now desolate city. Resounding quiet was not a sound any sane person would want to hear after the cacophony of the burning. Slowly, people moved from their hiding place.


Every sentence must start with the letter “s.”

Someday I will own a boat. Someone will sell it to me in a blue tee-shirt with pit stains and I will do a little jump when I put the keys in my pocket. Sometimes, I want a jetski as well. Sally, my next door neighbor, often tells me that jetskis are for the weak. Surely, she is wrong. She must be incompetent, for jetskis are for the best… Somewhere in Saudi Arabia, but I don’t know now. Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a lot of oceans, I thought. Sea creatures must hate Saudi Arabia. Sea creatures like me, though, which is why I have so many. Squids, octopuses, turtles, manta rays- you name it.


Every sentence must have the letter “z.”

Armed with a bedazzling gun, she took careful aim and fired. I’m not sure that’s how bedazzlers are supposed to work, so this could quickly become problematic. Zazzles shot out of the end of the gun. She looked at the candy-gum and wished it had a more zesty flavor. She didn’t know what her zany mind was thinking. She paused, puzzled, and began again furiously. She swiped at the wrapper of her zestless gum and continued bedazzling her shirt. However, in her zany madness to decorate she had accidently grabbed a flamethrower. The shirt was ruined, which meant she could not go to Zack’s party. At least she would have time to finish her zebra collage now. “Unless,” she thought, “this might be crazy, but what if I wear the collage to the party?”


You must write in second person future tense

You will try to make a wish in a well. You will fall down the well. You will meet a troll, and his name will be George. He will be quite cruel to you. But having read your fairy tales as a child, you will also know when the time is right how to defeat George. All you will have to do is say three magic words. You will have to go on a quest to find these magic words. The quest will be long and include several unpleasant talking crocodiles and uncrossable streams. If you are lucky, you may find three magic beans. If you are smart, and if you will remember, you will not do anything with them and continue on your way. It is suggested you seek out the magical tree growing in Nimway froest, for at its roots you will find a secret map to the real secret map to the beans to the words. You will be frustrated by the overly complex rule, found in this genre, but you will come to terms with it. You will find the map easily, but it will be blank. You will not be able to read it but you’ll find a wizard who can. The problem will be the wizard only speaks nonsense. You sill be told by the Dungeon Master to go home.


Each sentence should contradict the previous one in some way.

Today I sat in my chair. Upon standing on my chair, I decided that I rather disliked it. I liked it so much that I jumped off, snatched the chair from underneath me, and hurled it across the car. The chair gently landed. Not only had it crashed to the floor, but my lamp had also been smashed. I cradled that lamp in my hands. I hated it to death. Sometimes, I wanted to die. I love live so much; there are many things to do. There is never anything to do on this planet except toss my poodle around with my friends. I have no friends, nor do I have a poodle. Often, I watch movies with my cat, Linus. I’m not sure what color Linus is because I am blind- it is terribly tragic and I often wish I could do things like a normal person does, such as watch a movie.


The Beat

I walked in the room feelin’ very maleficent
Everybody knew and were like “Damn, she’s archiphikus.
She’s droppin’ beats down low like she’s gonna hit with ‘em.
Look out she’s on a role like good ole Darth Sidious.”

My tongue’s flyin’ so fast and
I know it can’t last but
Oh it’s a blast and
I just can’t get past
The beat
It’s fleetin’ heat and
Freakin’ makes me wanna put life on repeat

Flying in a sea of words
Something within me stirs
Here I go tossin’ words
I’ll be heard
I’m the beat.

Inspired by a Writer’s Community Prompt.



You don’t know what you’re doing.
Yes, I know that.
If I did, why
would I be staring at this hulking glacier
stretching before me, promising
an eternal mental ice age,
missing only a saber-tooth tiger
to round out the critic’s table?

You’re just talking to yourself.
Yes, I figured.
If I had an audience,
surely they would say something back,
not lay directly under my feet
waiting for my hesitant ink-splotched steps
so they could trip me up
and send me sprawling.

Take your time. I can wait here all day.
No, you can’t.
If you did, I would
quietly raise my hands to the sky
and let the pulsing vertical black heartbeat
send me into madness.
You can’t.
Here and gone.
You can’t.
Here and gone.

Wait. What are you doing.
I don’t know.
But the point of the matter is,
you’re not doing it,
and I am.

They say that life is a blank page.
I can’t imagine anything more horrifying.

My life is full of doodles in the margins
and phrases scratched out
and little arrows directing in sentences I forgot.
My life is a poem written on notebook paper
and then ripped out,
curlicues of perforation still clinging to its sides,
and folded into a paper airplane
to be launched out a window.

Maybe someone will catch it
as it soars on the breeze
and skim the scrawled, splotchy words
and read the victory of a warrior long past
who battled with monsters
and who won the staring contest
with the abyss that gazed back.

-A. Epstein-


Much Ado About Love

Much Ado About Love

 by R Shinkel

Shakespeare, is really much amade about

nothing, in all this noting of things like

matchmaking, courting, marriage, or love? I doubt

that all things of love are only of psych

and words written down. Why do we write down

things about love with its tangles and trials?

Is not love worth the writing when found?

Is not human connection worth extra miles

of effort in sonnets, plays, epics, and songs?

One might say that in the breaking off

of hearts, such is not worthy of all wrongs

thrown. And yet we then when broken, aloft

in dreams, dream of that love worth the writing

and, when dreams come alive, worth the kissing.

From the Archives: Literary Clue, 2/28

In an homage to one of our absent members who was determined under pain of death to find a way to turn the classic board game Clue into a writing prompt, our last meeting before break somehow found a way to pull it off. Each of the following stories was given a person, a place, and an object (sadly, no candlesticks or lead pipes), and then told to construct a story around them. Enjoy the random fruits of our labor!

1. Place: Bruegger’s Bagels. Person: Squiggy McCrackin, acclaimed novelist. Item: The Necronomicon.

Bruegger’s Bagels. Nightfall. A mysterious figure has been sighted in the infamous bagle shop and appears to be opening tubs of cream cheese and schmearing them on the windows. Police have tried to enter and halt the schmear campaign, but the door was locked, and eyewitnesses report having seen the police making headway on foot to the nearest Quickie Mart. Donuts half-off from midnight to two.

“We do indeed have a bystander here to witness the goings-on. Hi, sir, what is your name?”

“Uhh, Squiggy McCrackin.”

“The author?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Wow, I love your book!”

“Uhh, yeah, thanks, man. I just lost my wallet and I’m cravin’ a bagel. Can you point me to the nearest shop?”

“Sir, can you tell me about the mysterious figure you have seen in the Bruegger’s Bagels?”

“The one with the cream cheese?”

Squiggy McCrackin appears to have either flaky sin or dried cream cheese on his mouth. Deep investigations shall pursue. This is Nancy McCling, from the Necronomicon Daily.

2. Person: Sibley Hoobler. Place: Paw Crenshaw’s lumber mill. Object: A penny-farthing.

Sibley Hoobler started up the hill on her penny-farthing, her skirts flying out in a most unladylike way. At the top of the hill, Paw Crenshaw’s lumber mill was a silver palace in the moonlight. She skidded to a stop at the front door, nearly falling over, but steadying herself on the pile of lumber leaning against the wall. Sibley paused for a few seconds to catch her breath. She didn’t need her Stanley seeing her so out of breath.

Inside, she was surprised to see a light on in the office. Stanley never brought a lantern, for fear of being caught on their illicit midnight meetings. A sense of foreboding made her take extra care to be quiet as she went to peer through the half-open doorway. The lantern illuminated the faces of the strangest men she’d ever set eyes on. Their hair was long and unkempt and they wore gold earrings, nose rings, and jewelry. They were dressed in the most disreputable mix of old castoffs and odd colors she’d ever seen. And gleaming deadly by their sides were weapons: pistols and sabers. Sibley knew who they were: PIRATES! But she lived in a landlocked town miles from the ocean…

“How soon can the repairs be done?” asked the largest of the men, with an air of authority.

“Well, Cap’n, most of the materials we need are here. Plenty o’ wood for a new mast.”

3. Item: a monk’s habit. Person: a distinguished british gentleman. Place: a hula-hoop disco bar.

Beats and hips rock in unison at the Hulau disco. Under the strobes, dozens of circular movies whirl disjointedly. Magically hugging their owners’ hips, the hula hoops dance rhythmically.

Theodore Thimblewhisp the Third slides in through the door. The sharp angles of his suit cast vivid shadows with each flash of light. He awkwardly moves toward the bar. “Excuse me. Pardon me,” he says to the hoopsters awaiting a spot on the hula floor.

“Sir!” he shouts to the young woman at the bar. She looks him up and down, nods once, and pulls a monk’s habit from beneath the bar.

“What the hell is this now?”

4. Person: King Leonidas. Place: Lemur colony. Object: Cuban cigar.

There was a large floating island off the coast of East Africa inhabited only by a large colony of Bengalese lemurs. The island was said to be one of the most magical places on earth. A land of great luxury, exquisite cuisine, and homogenous fauna. Despite the great disparity of plant life, there was a high prevalence of lemurs, who were on a strict diet of vegetables and Cuban cigars. King Leonidas, the fat monarch of this floating paradise, introduced Cubans to the lemurs several years back when first settling on the island. While the small monkeys originally experienced hallucinations and diarrhea upon the first puff of this toxic death stick, Leonidas continued to supply them with the smoke wands, forcing their immune systems to embrace the heavy tobacco and become reliant upon it. Once achieved this cuban-cigar-dependency from the lemur colony, King Leonidas was able to force them into his minionship and build the luxury report we now know as Disneyland.

5. Person: Sir Cecil Reynolds. Place: Central Park. Item: Gas station microwave bean burrito.

“What is this nonsense? I shan’t put up with it any longer!” Sir Cecil Reynolds exclaimed to his loyal manservant Fortinbras, holding the foreign object before his eyes in perplexed scrutiny.

“I’m told it’s a local delicacy, my lord,” Fortinbras replied timidly. His voice was so meek i was almost drowned out by the cooing of the pigeons next to them on the park bench.

“Indeed…” mused Sir Cecil, as a group of Manhattanites on rollerblades skated past. “It doesn’t seem edible… In fact, it smells like a manure-filled stable, but when in Rome, good Fortinbras…” and he took a hearty bite.

The passersby, oblivious to the drama, continued to pass by as Sir Cecil’s usual florid complexion paled to a wan oatmeal gray. He clutched the buttons of his shirt, but it was too late; the lord’s hand gave one final spasm before sliding off the bench onto the dirt of Central Park. Fortinbras checked his master’s pulse with two fingers, but Sir Cecil’s skin was as cold as the massive piles of money he had bequeathed to his manservant in his will. He should have known better than to deign to taste the microwave bean burrito from his traitorous servingman, even if it were still in the crinkling cellophane from the nearest Circle K. There were some men who would stop at nothing to get what they desired, not even half-congealed, inherently poisonous faux-Mexican entrees. Fortinbras, as Sir Cecil should have known, was one of these.


Hello, fellow writers!

This, unlike our usual posts, is not a collection of ridiculous half-sentences or pictures of promiscuously-dressed African animals. No, this post is a CALL TO ACTION! 

As you may have noticed, our potential for reaching WC members is enormous. Gigantic. Ginormous. As big as that meteor that crashed in Russia somewhere yesterday. But our actual turnout… is represented more in potential than in real people. There are creative writers that want to know that we exist! And therefore, I am summoning you to the FIRST ANNUAL WRITERS’ COMMUNITY GUERRILLA ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN.

What does this involve, you may ask? Not necessarily a gorilla suit, though that would be highly effective as well. No, we need to get our name out there. Fliers are in the works and will be posted all up over the place. Writers’ Community-themed haikus are going to be posted in prominent and random places around campus. (Think Post-Its. Post-Its are our new best friend.) We’re toying with the idea of writing-themed flash mobs. Or just flash mobs in general. A chicken suit has been proposed, though I’m not sure where we’re going to get one.

But this is where YOU come in. Do you have friends that are interested in creative writing and are free on Thursday evenings? Tell them to come! Spread the word to your English professors, your creative writing professors, that random guy who keeps asking you to read his poetry over breakfast in MoJo. Give them our brand-spanking-new email address designed for the purpose: (Which is very self-explanatory, although sadly we had to nix our apostrophe for the sake of clarity.)

Do you have any other exciting ideas for advertising? Think big! Think skywriting, graffiti, dance numbers, musicals, what have you. These things have already all been suggested, so you need to think outside the box. Smash the box. The box is dead. 

Leave suggestions in the comments, or send them to! 


-Allison and the WC Core

Prompts for Groundhog’s Day

Hello, writers! No, the prompts that I’m putting up here have basically nothing to do with Groundhog’s Day. It just happens to be one of my favorite holidays of all time, except for possibly International Tuba Day, which happens to be the first Friday in May. But anyway. For all of you who couldn’t make it to our meeting this Thursday, never fear! Here are a few prompts to keep you writing. You don’t need a meeting to do some nonsense writing, just set a timer for seven to ten minutes, pick your prompt, and write nonstop until the alarm goes off. Don’t pick your pen up off the paper. Just keep going, and never mind how ridiculous the outcome is. That’s the best part, really. Here are the prompts we used on Thursday, which I’m particularly fond of…

– A pub, a pint, and a good walk.

– Crafty penguins

– Cltivated weeds in a three-gallon bucket of procrastination.

– Fermenting potato in my underwear drawer

– The canvas in the sky

– Spice garden of ill-conceived heroism

Happy writing, and I hope to see you at a meeting soon!

-Allison and the WC Core

From the Archive: Exquisite Corpses, 1/24

Fortunately, this week’s contribution to the archive is extremely easy to format. None of those nonsense technological phrases like “embedding images” or “shortcodes” or “html” for me today, just typing away and popping up four more lovely exquisite corpses that have recently emerged from the 2nd meeting of the semester. Want to contribute to the process? Think you can do better than “lovely inorganic spice garden of blasphemy”? Come on by, then! We’d love to have you.


The trees topple towards the town today

it would happen. I peeled back my banana, full of potassium,

“Haven’t you had enough bananas today, son?”

The boy blinked in surprise. “But you’re not my father!” he protested.

The Earth rumbled beneath our 

lovely inorganic spice garden of blasphemy and

grilled cheeses are absolutely not to be eaten after 6pm

was always the best time to pick up hot single moms at the grocery store

was gloomy. Customers shopped at a sluggish

work ethic of a disgruntled burger flipper chewing asparagus

pee. He plugged his nose and let loose of the day’s stress

melted away as she sank into a luxurious bubble bath

was no place for this kind of debauchery!


It all began when mom asked me to babysit Uncle Jim.

He eyed me on his tocking chair with his glass eye rolling

in the deep. The mermaid flipped her scaly tail

whipped furiously, dangerously even. Billy

Willy was not a friend of Uncle Jim, he was deaf

elephants are my favorite animals, I made sure to pontificate

in his papal robes of state whilst performing the benediction

was night unstoppable now!

Rather, he would wait, hold steadfast until the spiders.

They crawled across her stomach before biting

wind that tore at his face as he strove to bring the ring to Mordor,

One does not simply walk there,” I said.

Uncle Jim and I are still great pals despite our differences. And damn does he make good beef jerky.


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually, it was

running. The colossal dire lion roared after.

The water in the styrofoam cup was muddied and had the scent of

musty Christmas decorations, frozen in skating motions.

The dance team moved and swayed to the beat of Eminem

ate m&m’s merrily. Fearful he might be caught

the stripper giraffe, Claudia, in action. Claudia was a very hard worker

at the local Hallmark store. “Have a happy Labor Day,”

the elderly woman snapped, but the white denim pants were my

birthday! “Yay me!” I cried as the first gift was

a heavenly relief from the long, unpaid nights at the donut factory

where robotic midgets packaged metallic shards sold

his soul to the Devil for the chance to speak with him, one last time.


The bitter taste of cherry Kool-Aid powder made him shiver

me timbers!” cried the pirate as he steered the ship

soared through the sky, westward bound. Billy

Goat Gruff climbed up the mahogany mountain like the little

did the peanut know that he was about to be buttered!

But she really did prefer her scones with jam, she thought, grimacing,

the Klingon turned his back on us in disgust;

the lowest kind. The kind that dwells with cockroaches and mincemeat

pancakes that I always stole a bite of before feeding to my pet dingo,

which had stolen me from my parents when I was but a wee lad

wee-weed in his knickers. He felt so naughty that

spiders and cockroaches were clearly members of a different

colors, shapes, and sizes that really just look great on all.

From the Archive: Pictostories, 10/26

I’ve left this particular entry from the archive for a couple of weeks as I tried to figure out the best way to convert it into cyberspace. When you’re as technologically challenged as I am, sometimes you need to click your way around a blog until you understand how to incorporate pictures AND text at the same time, but eventually we got there. Don’t judge me. Yes, I’m part of the millennial generation, I swear. I taught my father how to text. I’m working this out as I go.

Anyway, I have named this activity, for the sake of needing a name, Pictostories. Here’s the gist: the first person writes one sentence, then passes the paper clockwise. (Always clockwise. Because going counterclockwise would be ridiculous.) The next person has to draw what is represented in the sentence, then folds the paper over so the next person can’t see the original sentence and passes it again. Next, someone writes a sentence of what they think is depicted in the picture, and so on and so forth until the papers have gone all the way around. Because we’re writers, naturally about 85% of us have no drawing ability whatsoever, which only makes the exercise that much more entertaining…

Enjoy! And can I get a round of applause for figuring out how to get a handful of strange drawings posted on this blog? No? Okay, fine.